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RECORD agricultural export earnings and higher farm production will be a shot in the arm for rural communities, Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said.

The Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences is forecasting the value of agricultural exports to rise by 6.5% to $34.6 billion in 2011/12 on the back of a good winter crop-growing season.

"This is fantastic news for rural communities," Senator Ludwig said.

The forecast for farm export earnings predicts a record in nominal terms and the second highest in real terms since 2002/03. The bureau's September quarter report predicted wheat, wool, rice, canola, raw cotton and sheep meat would bring in higher export earnings.

Crop export earnings will rise 13% to $20 billion, with wheat contributing $6.4 billion. Rice export earnings are set to leap 377%, while raw cotton exports will jump substantially by 63%.

Senator Ludwig said a 6.9% increase for forestry and fisheries products would bring the total forecast value to $38.6 billion.


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